The Council has set up a new department, ‘Residents First’, which is now considering closing the Waltham Forest Direct (WFD) shops in Leyton, Leytonstone, Walthamstow and Chingford. 

The WFD shops, popular with residents, are where they can get information, advice and get their housing and council tax benefits sorted out without queuing for hours in Poll Tax house in Walthamstow. 

It is ironic that the new department of ‘Residents First’ has already closed down the local Community Councils and is now looking to close down another local community service. Maybe they should rename the department ‘Residents Last’.

Labour hypocrisy over school sports

Waltham Forest’s Labour councillors have been condemned for outrageous hypocrisy for putting down a motion on school sports partnerships at the last council meeting while simultaneously.

  • Slashing funding to the London Youth Games
  • Hiking charges for schools sports days and other sports activities
  • Seeking to concrete over the playing fields at Drapers Field for two years

Liberal Democrat councillor Naheed Qureshi said:

Labour talks the talk but we see their true colours when it comes to the decisions for which they are responsible. Their withdrawal of funding for the London Youth Games, school sport fee increases and closure of Drapers Field shows that Labour’s commitment is all words and no action.

Colleague councillor Bob Sullivan added:

Drapers Field will close for two years so the Olympic Delivery Authority can use the playing fields to do its laundry and catering. This will deprive local children and Norlington school of their current playing fields. Labour has consistently failed to set out any clear plans for the future of Drapers Field once the ODA leaves the site.

Labour councillors at London Councils (Waltham Forest representative Cllr Chris Robbins) earlier this week voted to cut funding for the London Youth Games by £130,000. This will lead to a loss of over half-a-million pounds [£650k] of match funding and raises questions about the future of the Games

Labour councillors have proposed the following sports fee increases

  • A 12% increases in the cost of school football and school cricket
  • A 23% increase in the cost of casual Saturday pitch hire
  • A 25% increase in the cost of hiring Leyton County Cricket Ground
  • Increases of 33%  in school sports day fees

Drapers Field – update

Drapers Field - facing destruction

I was interviewed by the BBC last Friday (7 January) about the Lib Dem campaign to save Drapers Field.

Waltham Forest Council intends to rent the playing fields to the Olympic Delivery Authority for nearly two years, to concrete it over and use it for a laundry and storage area. This is despite the fact that Drapers Field is used by over 100,000 people a year and nearby Norlington School uses the playing fields four times a week for sports activity.

The council is so embarrassed about the situation that it stopped any filming in front of the Drapers Field sign. 

“This shows that Labour just wants to sweep this issue under the carpet and avoid scrutiny of their decision. In the run-up to the Olympics we should encourage young people to take part in sport – not take away one of the few playing fields and open spaces in the area”.

Labour has still failed to come clean about their plans for Drapers Field after the Olympics.  They say they will consult residents, although they talk about Drapers Field becoming a ‘super park’ there are also current plans which show housing on part of the grounds.

GOOD NEWS! – A new fire station for Leytonstone

Artist's impression of the new Fire Station

My colleague, Lib Dem Councillor Winnie Smith, has welcomed the news that the government has given the go-ahead for Leytonstone fire station to be rebuilt and improved.

Winnie says: “Local people would be shocked to see the state of the buildings where many of out fire-fighters have to work.  I am really pleased that the Lib Dems in Government have ensured that the money is there to rebuild Leytonstone fire station.  I am still pressing to get our fire engine back in Leyton.  That will be even better news”.

The funding that has been approved will see the existing buildings demolished, and replaced by a modern facility as part of a £60 million scheme to rebuild fire stations under a private finance initiative. The scheme is due to start late next year, with Leytonstone being part of the second phase.  See plan of new fire station above.The fire engines and staff will be relocated to other local stations while the work takes place. A London Fire Brigade spokesperson is reported to have said, “Temporarily transferring fire engines to different stations during construction will not lead to a reduction in our service and allow us to maintain good attendance times.”

New plans for 590-602 Leyton High Road received

New plans have been received by the Council to build part 5, part 4 and part 2 storey buildings on the site 590 to 602 High Road and 1 Hainault Road.  The buildings will comprise ground floor retail space and 24 residential units – 7×1 bed, 11x 2 bed and 2×3 bed duplex flats and 4×3 bed houses.

A previous application to build six storeys with 27 residential units with retail units was withdrawn. 

The Lib Dem Focus Team will be investigating these new plans.

Licence to sell alcohol at 3.30 in the morning refused

The Leyton Supermarket shop at 375 Leyton High Road had their sale of alcohol licence request to extend it from 11.00pm to 3.30am refused by the Councils Licensing Committee.

Councillor Bob Sullivan made representation to the committee to oppose the sale of alcohol at 3.30am in the morning on the grounds of the prevention of crime and disorder, prevention of public nuisance and public safety.

I hope I spoke for most residents, as I cannot see that selling of alcohol in the middle of the night would benefit local people and could cause problems. 

What do you think?

Your chance to make Britain a FAIRER PLACE

On the 5th May this year everyone will get an opportunity to make Britain a fairer place.

There will be a referendum in changing our voting system from a ‘First Past the Post’.  Fairer votes will make MPs work harder to earn and keep your support.

That’s because every MP will need to win more than half of the votes to get elected.

Bob Sullivan and the Focus Team say, “This is a small change that will make a big difference.  People are fed up with MPs who think they entitled to a job for life no matter what they do”.

A YES vote on 5th May will change that once and for all.

People from all parties and from all walks of life are backing the campaign to change the voting system.

To add your support, visit or today.

You can also show your support by clicking on the ‘YES to Fairer Votes’ button in the right hand column.

Olympic Tickets

I have found out how to get Olympic tickets. You need register to get tickets for the Olympics. You can register for tickets on:

by registering then you will be able to purchase tickets when they become available in 2011


Leyton Ward CouncillorsWe have had a lot of snow and a lot more is forecast over the Christmas period. 

I hope that you have got all your presents and looking forward to the 25th.  The New Year brings hope as well as hardship to most people as we battle with paying off the massive debts that have been left to us by the last Government and the bankers. 

We will continue to deliver our regular Focus newsletter to keep in touch and update you on what is going on in our area. 

We will also keep running our councillor surgeries at Leyton Library, corner of Leyton High Road and Ruckholt Road, every Saturday 10 till 12.  The new refurbished library is due to open in January.  The first floor can now be accessed by a lift. 

The new Olympic stadium is also due to open next year.  I believe that Olympic tickets can now be purchased online.  I will check this out as I am determined to get to see the Olympics live as I am in walking distance of the Games.

Anyway I hope that you have a great Christmas – my colleagues, Councillors Winnie Smith and Naheed Qureshi and I, wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you feel we can help in any way.